I’m good about spacing out restaurants so that I don’t tire of them, but fail at this when it comes to particular foods (especially fruit!). I’ve been through the mandarin oranges phase, the milk tea phase, the pomelo phase, the kumquat phase, the strawberry phase, the peanut baozi phase, the tangyuan phase, and am now wholeheartedly in the mango phase. The typical morning this week has begun with a walk down to the beach at Baicheng, buying three mangos, then peeling and eating them while watching an episode or two of Big Bang Theory. Since the weather has been extraordinarily nice every morning this week, it’s been a perfect morning routine.
My last midterm, Oral, was this afternoon. I chose to the option to “introduce a movie that made a deep impression on you” in a three-minute speech. Behold:
The movie that has made the deepest impression on me is Schindler’s List. It’s based on a true story that took place during the Second World War. It’s about a German named Schindler. After Germany invaded Poland, he started a factory there, thinking that if he started a business in a war zone he would make a lot of money. Because the Jews’ wages were relatively low, he hired only Jews. The Holocaust was going on, and the Jews’ lives were very hard – for instance, they all lived in one section of the city and couldn’t freely go out. But Schindler didn’t care about their situation. Actually, he really didn’t care about anything besides profits. Later, the lives of the Jews became more and more dangerous, as they started being sent to concentration camps and being killed. Schindler gradually realized that the lives of all people are precious, and he started to use his power, his connections, and his money to redeem his workers. In the end, he spent all of his money, but he wanted save lives even if it meant having no money. Altogether, he saved over a thousand people. The final scene of the movie shows the cemetery where Schindler is buried. Many people walk by, placing small rocks on his grave. They are all Schindler’s Jews and their descendents. The descendents now number over 6,000, all of whom where saved by Schindler. I think this movie is very meaningful. It reminds me that our actions, no matter how small, can have large consequences.
I was surprised when I went in and the teacher said we couldn’t even glance at written notes, but apparently I had succeeded in memorizing the new words (WWII, Holocaust, concentration camps, redeem, cemetery, grave, and descendents). Operation: Midterm is deemed a success!
This evening, Aleid, Katrine, Eunice, and I celebrated by going out to a night market. We had malatang for dinner followed by a generous sampling of street food (including pancake-like things!). There was lots to see and we all bought something – a pair of sandals for me. Yeah, they’re technically men’s shoes – so what? In China, the definition of a “good shoe” is “one that comes in size 40”.
On the bus ride home, Eunice and I noticed an prime example of an important cultural difference. In China, it is acceptable for friends of the same gender to hold hands, link arms, lean on each other and – apparently – sit on each other’s laps. I’m getting more and more used to it – obviously I don’t freak out if a girl friend grabs my hand, but I’ve also largely stopped making assumptions about two guys walking together, one holding an umbrella and the other with his arm around his friend’s waist.
But then we saw a guy sit on his guy friend’s lap, said friend opening his legs to accommodate the other guy. Eunice and I were both so surprised, and tried very hard not to stare! If I ever sit on a guy’s lap, it’s a perching-on-the-knee sort of thing, certainly not sitting between his open legs! For girls, the only situations I can think of that would make sitting on another girl’s lap acceptable would be a) crowded car rides, b) really cold place, or c) a little kid. And between guys . . . Well, I can’t picture it as any thing but a joke that would last no longer than 2 seconds. When I asked YongZhi about this a while back, he said that the only rule is you don’t touch skin. Apparently, everything else goes!